Rachel Beckwith: Age Means Nothing When It Comes to Helping Others

Filed under News Your World on May 29 12 by

I looked out the window and could see nothing but a heavy downpour of rain.

Well, there went my plans for the night. What a fun birthday, right? One could say I was more than disappointed. And I certainly didn’t act like the 28-year-old I was to be; in fact, I whined more like a nine-year-old.

Rachel Beckwith

Rachel Beckwith

“I’m celebrating my birthday like never before. I’m asking from everyone I know to donate to my campaign instead of gifts for my birthday. Every penny of the money raised will go directly to fund freshwater projects in developing nations.”

I wish I can say I wrote those words. Whereas I behaved like a nine-year-old on my 28th birthday, an actual nine-year-old took it upon herself to selflessly act in a way that would make the rest of us blush.

Unfortunately, Rachel Beckwith was just $80 short of reaching her fundraising goal to the nonprofit organization charity:water. What is more unfortunate is that she won’t see another birthday, as she tragically died in a thirteen-car accident in Bellevue, Washington last summer.

But what was a tragedy for one life quickly became a ray of hope for so many others. Rachel’s mission to save those without clean drinking water coupled with the horrific news of her passing inspired those across the globe to do what Rachel would have wanted most—donate to the cause that saves countless lives. As her mom wrote on Rachel’s page, “In the face of unexplainable pain you have provided undeniable hope. I know Rachel is smiling.”

With more than 3,100 donations from places as far as Brazil, Rachel’s goal of reaching $300 was shattered at a whopping $1.2 million that served more than 63,000 people in need of clean drinking water.

Scott Harrison, founder of charity:water, added, “The selflessness of a nine-year-old girl who said, ‘I don’t want a birthday party, I don’t want gifts, I just want people to have clean water’ – that’s the way it resonates with people.”

“I wish I could give more, but I’m only 8 years old, and this is my week’s allowance,” wrote an adorable donor that offered $5.

“What could have been a senseless ending to such a beautiful beginning of your story has turned into something so much more,” posted another anonymous donor. “I hope that if at all possible, the obvious compassion so many others have shown in taking up your empathetic cause brings some peace to you and your family.”

While this is a truly touching story, it’s unfortunate that it took such a tragedy for people to take action. We shouldn’t have to hear reports such as these remind us of what really matters in life. It’s not the birthday, the wedding, the promotion, or whatever celebration it may be. It’s the people in our lives and across the globe that can make this world that much better from just a simple act.

Let’s not wait until another tragedy strikes. Let’s do what we can today to help just one friend, one acquaintance—or even one stranger—just like Rachel wanted to do.

If a nine-year-old got it, why don’t we?

If you’d like to donate to Rachel’s charity:water campaign, please click here to get started.


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Soraya Eltomey
Soraya is a news contributor for The You Are Project, profiling fascinating young women such as the world-renowned rower Julia Immonen. Having previously served as Management Consultant at Consumer Reports and Co-Chairperson of Advertising Women of New York's Young Executives Committee, Soraya now spearheads PR initiatives for an award-winning digital marketing agency located in Tribeca.